Shopping’s fun…until you get the credit card bill. While we won’t deprive you of your God-given right to buy something you love, ask yourself if it’s worth waking up neck-deep in debt and working ‘round the clock just to pay off the interest. The secret is a happy balance: shop smart and protect yourself from holiday debt.
Work the calculator
Find out how much you can spend without seriously affecting your ability to pay the bills. Then set a reasonable budget and set aside a bit of money from each paycheck for the next six weeks so you have a little “happy money.” You can stuff it into a cookie jar, but if you’ve got my kind of self-control (i.e. NONE) consider putting it in a savings account.
Stay away from Black Friday sales
Spend the day after Thanksgiving at home, eating leftover pie and vanilla ice cream. Don’t feel bad about the sales, because it’s all a marketing ploy. Many retailers will say “for limited time only” or “while supplies last” to feed shopper’s panic and make you buy things that aren’t really on your list.
Shop via web
Many websites offer great discount codes. It’s also easier to stick to your list when you’re on the web, away from the sales talk of overeager shop assistants and the giddy temptation of free samples and product demos.
Trim your Christmas list
Do you really need to spend a fortune on gifts? You may want to give something nice to a select few, but for co-workers, neighbors, your kid’s teachers, or the other “duty gifts” that eat up the budget, consider low-cost or even no-cost alternatives. Bake cookies, print a photo and frame it, write a sincere thank you letter. These are more meaningful and useful than cheap gifts that will just gather dust in the drawer.
Photo from allyou.com